Sour cabbage is one of the undervalued types of food in modern American culture. It is known mostly under its German name: sauerkraut. Technically, sauerkraut is shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria, for instance, Lactobacillus. In the past sauerkraut was used by sailors to provide the proper nutrients during months long journeys in open seas. James Cook always took plenty of sauerkraut on his sea voyages to prevent scurvy his crews experienced before.
Health benefits of sauerkraut
- Sauerkraut is a low calorie product which is high in vitamins C, B, and K. Moreover, this is that rare unique case when processing (the fermentation process) increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original raw cabbage.
- Sauerkraut is also high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both associated with preserving ocular health.
- Indole-3-carbinol is another antioxidant specific for cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. Studies showed dose-related decrease in tumor susceptibility due to Indole-3-carbinol. The first direct evidence of pure anti-carcinogenic activity produced by indole-3-carbinol presence in human diet was claimed by Dashwood, et al., in 1989.
However modern canned sauerkraut is inferior to the original healthy product known for centuries because of synthetic polymer emulsifiers like polysorbates and preservatives like sodium benzoate are added for “enhancements.” If you carefully read labels you can find the least chemically loaded canned sauerkraut at your local grocery, for instance, recently reviewed Libby’s Bavarian Style Sauerkraut. But all they are loaded with added sodium (salt) and sugar. For these reasons you better make your own sauerkraut at home with controlled amounts of salt and naturally preserved nutritional power for better health.
Homemade sauerkraut vegetable blend recipe
To increase nutritional and anti-cancer powers of sauerkraut and, also to enrich the flavor, I have added beets, broccoli, carrot, turmeric and garlic. See articles Why Garlic Is Your Friend and Garlic: Weight Loss Benefits. On the top of all the health benefits of original sauerkraut, this modified sauerkraut vegetable blend is an excellent source of Betanin, Indole-3-carbinol, carotene, curcumin, minerals, electrolytes, micro-elements, vitamins, enzymes and fiber.
One medium cabbage was shredded on large grater. Also half–pound carrots; 2 medium beets and 8 broccoli sprouts were shredded on medium grater. Then 6-7 claws of garlic were smashed; some dill seeds, thyme seeds, turmeric and two tablespoons of salt were added. This was carefully mixed by hands and left under a press of 15 lbs weight (upside down saucer loaded by a dumbbell) at room temperature (70oF/19oC) for five to seven days till highly nutritious juices released and vegetables turned slightly softer. Weight is not as critical as temperature. You can use a jar of water instead of dumbbell.
Please note that the temperature is important. Storing the cabbage below 55°/11oC may prevent fermentation from beginning and temperatures above 75°/22oC may cause excessive yeast formation making sauerkraut to become too soft, and may eventually spoil. If you want stronger sour-flavored sauerkraut, keep the fermentation running between 55°F and 75°F for 2-3 weeks or longer, checking the taste occasionally till satisfaction. When ready you may keep your sauerkraut in a fridge for a year.
Enjoy your highly nutritious, cancer-preventive sauerkraut vegetable blend to maintain your strong health and high energy level! It Beets Cancer!